Cubs Lose, In Familiar Fashion

Chicago Cubs manager Dale Sveum argues with home plate umpire Larry Vanover after being thrown out during a game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
On a September day very much like Wednesday, back in 1966, a year very much like this one, a Cubs team very much like this year's lost a road game by the same score as Wednesday's.

In honor recognition of that, I'm writing the recap of Wednesday's game in the style the Tribune's Edward Prell used 46 years ago this week.

The Chicago Cubs offered little more than token resistance Wednesday toward the National League championship aspirations of the Washington Nationals.

Chris Volstad, Michael Bowden and Blake Parker (Alberto Cabrera and Jaye Chapman gave up no hits) were the victims of a 13-hit bombing, 9 to 1, which helped maintain the Nationals' 7½-game lead over the Atlanta Braves, who made victims of the Colorado Rockies Wednesday.

Gio Gonzalez, a six-foot, two-hundred-pound native of Florida, had an easy time with the Cubs, not allowing a run in seven innings. The only embarrassment for the Nationals pitching staff was for reliever Craig Stammen, a tall, six-foot-five who hails from Ohio, who allowed a home run to Anthony Rizzo in the ninth inning, a mammoth drive to center field.

There were only three other Cubs hits as Gonzalez won his 18th game in 25 decisions. The Nationals pitching staff is leading the league in fewest runs allowed, but also trying to prove that maybe pitching isn't 75 to 85 percent of the game; the nine-run outburst helped raise their runs-scored total to sixth in the National League.

Gonzalez and Stammen did not have to worry much about Rizzo's blast, because their associates hit six home runs and a double in the 13-hit barrage. The pace setters scored a run in the first inning and four in the third before Manager Dale Sveum had mercy on starter Chris Volstad, who absorbed his 10th loss.

Bryce Harper, the rookie lefty swinger, hit two of the Nationals' six home runs, both off Volstad. Adam LaRoche also homered off Volstad, but there was more damage to come on the sultry evening; Michael Bowden allowed a lead-off home run to Ian Desmond in the seventh inning, followed by the Nationals' final round-tripper of the evening, by Danny Espinosa.

Less said about the Cubs' attack, the better. It took until the sixth inning before Darwin Barney singled with no one away; in the next inning Starlin Castro hit a single with one out, and then the Cubs created a mild fuss when the next hitter, Welington Castillo, doubled. Castro went to third base but both runners were stranded when Josh Vitters struck out.

By this time Manager Sveum had already been ejected from the game by Umpire Larry Vanover; Sveum later said Vanover had been "eyeballing" him.

Justin Germano will oppose the Nationals' righty, Jordan Zimmermann, Thursday in the final meeting of the season between the two clubs.

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